johnlink ranks SAW: THE FINAL CHAPTER (2010)

I did it. I made it all the way through the SAW movies. I did this last year with the NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET series. And those weren’t better movies, per se, but it was definitely a much more fun experience. I don’t imagine I’ll be watching a SAW movie again any time soon (at least until an eight one comes out…)


I watched SAW: THE FINAL CHAPTER (2010) on 10.15.15. It was my first viewing of the film.

When a movie knows it is making its last entry in a series (at least for awhile) it can go one of two ways. It can either choose to bunker down and get back to what made the series appealing in the first place, or it can go the other way and through a bunch of fecal matter at a wall in hopes that some might stick.

The final SAW opts for the latter. That decision started with the choice to shoot this in 3D. And, please, don’t expect the series that gave us a man injected with hydrochloric acid to dabble in nuance.

The film opens with the franchise’s first public trap. Two men are chained to a table with a couple of saws between them. They can either fight each other, or allow the woman above them to die. But she is a bad person. She is so bad at hiding that she is a bad person that it is any wonder these two schlubs never figured out she was a bad person before. The public execution certainly is an attempt to consider the voyeurism inherent in violence. Any attempt at theme, though, is undercut more than a bit by the fact that the scene ends with blood and guts being flung at the 3d glasses wearing audience. This isn’t about violence as voyeurism. This is about violence as entertainment. We are asked, as we have been since the film’s fourth movie or so, to want the traps to win, the antagonists to get away with it, and the people stuck in the traps to die miserably.

There has not been a moment of joy in this entire series, and the seventh film doesn’t try and give any sort of happy ending. The film finally endangers at least one person we want to live, but the movie is not too nice to her. Her husband (Sean Patrick Flanery) is too bad of a person for her to get any sort of reprieve.

On the whole, this movie is filled with reprehensible people. We’ve lost all sense of decency, so that even former victims are no either damaged or mean or liars. Cary Elwes was convinced to return to reprise his role from the first film, but the level to which the movie condenses and wastes his character is a travesty. The whole thing is built to set up one moment, but there is no sense that any thought went into any other part of it at all.

It is hard to say what is worse about this movie. Is it the laziness of the writing? Is it the joy it takes in brutal death? Probably the former. Plenty of movies of value have taken too much joy in killing – heck, just look to the first SAW film – but when that indifference is matched by a script which only holds all the loose ends together with the loosest of grips, it is hard not to fell apathetic. I mean, this is a film which top bills Tobin Bell as Jigsaw, and he appears in it for a grand total of three minutes. Even he can’t be bothered any more.

I’m all done with the SAW series. Wish I could say it went out on a high note, but it certainly did not.




FINAL SCORE: 3.25 out of 10

~ by johnlink00 on October 16, 2015.

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